Last week a couple of us were talking about David Bowie (you might be surprised to know how frequently Bowie is a topic of conversation for me) and it occurred to me that his Let's Dance album was the first time I ever heard Stevie Ray Vaughan (you all should know how frequently he's a topic of conversation for me). I got it for Christmas the year it was released to go with my brand spanking new Walkman and I loved that guitar more than I can tell you though I had no idea who it was at the time. Give it a listen, if you're familiar with SRV you should totally be able to pick it out now regardless of what Bowie is doing in the desert there.
So then I was thinking about other musicians I love who started out doing session work (everyone has to start somewhere, after all) and I found some really cool stuff. Let's start with a drummer. For Sheila E.'s debut she sang on the Purple Rain soundtrack with Prince, on "Erotic City" which was the B-side of "Let's Go Crazy." Go, dig out your 45, I'll wait. Though Prince launched her into the stratosphere she probably didn't need his help, being that her dad is jazz percussionist Pete Escovedo. And, you know, she's freaking amazing.
Let's stay with jazz for a second. Dizzy Gillespie played with or composed for or influenced most of modern jazz : Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Chuck Mangione, Woody Herman, among others. His firing from Cab Calloway's band in 1941 was the subject of the 1997 movie The Spitball Story. Before he joined Calloway's orchestra a 21 year old Gillespie played his trumpet on Lionel Hampton's "Hot Mallets," my favorite jazz record ever.
Doesn't that vibe sound like starlight? It does to me. Anyway, if you're looking through some old liner notes and run across a familiar name, leave it in the comments or shoot me an email. Have a great day!